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Justices of the Peace

Photo by Bob Schatz

Justices of the Peace (JPs) are elected every two years. JPs play a vital role in our community, and their responsibilities fall into five categories, as outlined in Vermont statutes and the Vermont Justice of the Peace Guide:   

1) Elections. Each justice of the peace is a member of his or her town’s Board of Civil Authority (BCA). 24 V.S.A. § 801. The BCA is charged with the conduct of all elections that occur in town (primary, general, special, and local). 17 V.S.A. § 2451. Upon request, JPs are also responsible for delivering absentee ballots at election time to voters who are ill or physically disabled. 17 V.S.A. § 2538(a).

2) Tax appeals and abatement. As BCA members, justices of the peace hear and decide town property tax assessment appeals when local property owners do not agree with the final decision of the listers. 32 V.S.A. § 4404. Because JPs are BCA members, they also sit as members of their town’s Board of Abatement to determine whether a taxpayer’s property tax obligation should be forgiven under certain circumstances. 24 V.S.A. § 1533.

3) Marriages. Justices of the peace may solemnize marriages in Vermont. 18 V.S.A. § 5144.

4)  Oaths and notarial acts. Justices of the peace may administer oaths in all cases where an oath is required, unless a specific law makes a different provision. 12 V.S.A. § 5852. Justices of the peace may also perform notarial acts.

5) Duties as magistrate. If commissioned by the Supreme Court, a justice of the peace may also serve as a magistrate. Vt. Const. Ch. II, § 52.  

Mandatory duties are those duties which, by law, the JP must perform. These duties include participating as a Board of Civil Authority member by serving as an election official and assisting on election days, hearing and deciding tax appeals, and serving as a member of the Board of Abatement. Consistent, intentional failure to perform the mandatory duties of office could result in criminal penalties. 13 V.S.A. § 3006  

Discretionary functions of the office include performing marriages, administering oaths, performing notarial acts when commissioned as a notary, and serving as a magistrate. A justice of the peace has the power to perform these functions, but an individual JP is not required to do so in any particular instance. 42 U.S.C. § 1983; 9 V.S.A. § 4502.”  

For more information on Justices of the Peace, please visit the VT Secretary of State’s Office or view the Vermont Justice of the Peace Guide. 

Justices of the Peace:

  • Jennifer duToit Barrett

  • Thomas Fisher
  • William Munoff
  • Vince Paradis
  • Starr Phillips
  • Jane Spencer

To connect with a Justice of the Peace to officiate your wedding, or for other official duties, please contact the Town Clerk at addistontown@gmavt.net or 802-759-2020.

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